Elisabeth Moss on Handmaid’s Story Season 5 Finale and Prepare Scene Ending
June Osborne is lastly headed to security…or is she? On the finish of The Handmaid’s Story’s season 5 finale, she and her daughter Nichole have boarded a practice of refugees escaping from Canada, solely to seek out Serena Waterford and her baby aboard too. And if that isn’t sufficient to fret about, June’s husband Luke has stayed behind, arrested and charged with homicide, and their 12-year-old daughter Hannah remains to be caught in Gilead. June could also be free from violent anti-refugee protesters—just like the one which ran her over along with his truck—and she or he’s heading farther away from Gilead than ever earlier than, but when the remainder of her household remains to be at risk, then she is perhaps too.
Within the episode’s closing moments, each June (Elisabeth Moss) and Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) stand head to head holding their younger youngsters of their arms. Motherhood binds them collectively in a number of methods: not solely as a result of June was a handmaid for Serena and her husband (and endured abuse from the couple for years), but in addition as a result of she helped Serena ship a child of her personal this season. However, as June has beforehand made clear, that does not make them mates. Season 5 started within the aftermath of June killing Serena’s husband Fred, and ends with each girls in search of asylum collectively. How will their dynamic proceed to evolve by the tip of this practice journey, and because the occasions of season 6 unfold?
Extra From ELLE
Moss spoke with ELLE.com final week to debate season 5 of The Handmaid’s Story, which she says took 9 months to shoot, and its emotional finale. Beneath, she breaks down Serena and June’s dynamic, how The Handmaid’s Story displays the present state of the world, and what’s in retailer for the sixth and remaining season.
First, I need to discuss Luke and June’s tried escape within the practice station. They’re about to board a practice to get out of Canada with Nichole, however he stays behind as a result of the police are in search of him. May you speak in regards to the feelings working by that scene?
I feel that the entire episode is in regards to the idea of how all of those characters suppose that they’re protected. They suppose they’ve received it found out. They suppose they perceive who their mates are and who their enemies are and what their subsequent transfer is. After which, one after the other within the episode, every character has that [thought] turned on its head. The episode is known as “Protected,” and that’s what I took from it once I first received it and was making an attempt to interrupt it down to determine what it was about.
For Luke and June, at first of the episode, they suppose that they’re protected at house, that they’ve received their daughter. There’s a sense of just about tranquility and peace once they’re consuming espresso within the kitchen, and so they’re feeling like they’ve a plan and all of that. After which, after all, all of it falls aside very, in a short time, with June getting hit by the truck and Luke discovering out he’s going to be arrested for homicide, after which they need to go.
So I feel the emotions which might be going by them are simply emotions of worry and panic about how this life that they arrange is falling aside. They usually need to get their daughter to security, and so they need to get themselves to security. And there’s that quick hazard of people who find themselves in search of Luke. If he will get arrested, he’s going to be set free on bail, or no matter it’s. And he’s going to be in severe hazard from the individuals who have this rising anti-refugee sentiment in Toronto. In order that they’re in a particularly harmful scenario.
I assumed that scene the place Luke says goodbye was actually attention-grabbing, as a result of it was over the cellphone, and also you and O-T Fagbenle performed it so nicely. What was it like for you and O-T to convey that emotional dialog the place you’re not head to head, a minimum of on digicam? After which what was it like for you filming it because the director?
Effectively, it’s one and the identical, since I’m doing each [acting and directing] on the identical time. We shot his aspect first. That complete practice sequence took 4 nights to do, and was at three totally different areas. So once we had been on the platform, that’s once we shot the cellphone name. And we shot his aspect on the primary night time as a result of we knew that he was going to be driving the scene a lot. And the way in which O-T works could be very fluid. He likes to improv, he likes to strive issues, he likes to, in the midst of the take, return to the start. And clearly, after 5 years of working with him, I do know him very well, and I understand how he likes to work. So I simply thought that might be conducive to determining what the scene was going to be, to have him do it first.
More often than not when he was doing his aspect of the cellphone name, I used to be watching on the monitor and speaking to him on the cellphone. So I used to be half-playing June and saying my traces and half-directing him over the cellphone. Like, “Okay, return and try this once more,” or, “Say that once more,” or reminding him about one thing that he needed to strive.
After which once we did my aspect the subsequent day, he was in my eyesight. So I used to be in a position to have him a minimum of there, even when I couldn’t see him. Our eyelines are so tight on the present…I most likely have performed 75 % of this present to the digicam, so typically I couldn’t see him. However once we did my aspect, it was nice as a result of we knew what the scene was. We knew what we needed it to be.
I’d say that we co-directed that scene. That’s what I inform him. I feel we co-directed it as a result of he was actually useful once I was doing my aspect, simply so I used to be in a position to do my efficiency. He was useful in ensuring we didn’t overlook something that we needed to strive, and ensuring we mentioned traces that we needed to strive. And responses to issues that he had mentioned, we needed to make it possible for we received on my aspect. We additionally cleared out a lot of the background, so it was really fairly intimate and quiet, which is what we needed. We didn’t need to really feel like everyone was gazing us. It was vital to create the intimacy of the cellphone name regardless that they’re on the cellphone.
Moss and Fagbenle in The Handmaid’s Story season 5 finale.
Function reversal appeared to be a theme this season, with Luke getting left behind from an escape in the identical manner that June has up to now, and Serena primarily being demoted to a handmaid. Was that intentional?
I feel a lot of this season is in regards to the characters being at these tipping factors and actually having to determine who their mates are and who their enemies are. And I feel that there’s a sense amongst a number of of the characters, notably amongst Serena and Nick and Aunt Lydia, clearly, of feeling just like the those who they’ve thrown their lot in with could not have been one of the best folks to do this [with]. And persons are beginning to change their thoughts. I feel that’s one thing that might be actually attention-grabbing to proceed to discover in season six.
Talking of Serena, on the very finish of the episode, June runs into her and her child on the practice. What had been your preliminary ideas if you learn that twist within the script? And what’s going by June’s head in that second?
Once I first learn it, I had what is going to hopefully be the identical response, which was, “Oh my God, holy shit! No manner!” And simply cherished it as a fan.
I feel what’s going by June’s head is definitely one thing that I need to go away open-ended, as a result of I feel it’s very difficult. I don’t know that she’s feeling anyone emotion. I feel that there’s some aid of not being alone. There’s some aid at having a buddy, even when it’s the difficult buddy you’ve received. She’s not alone and there’s aid in that. However on the identical time, Jesus Christ, does it need to be Serena?
Proper. Of all folks.
Of all of the folks she might’ve run into, all of the gin joints on the earth. So I feel it’s actually difficult, however I actually needed to make it possible for we left it actually open and that was this second of suspension that we weren’t answering the viewers’s query. There was a line that we ended up not utilizing as a result of it simply felt within the second like we had been answering the query. And I didn’t need to reply it. I needed to be one thing that you’d come again for in season six.
Yvonne Strahovski as Serena.
How would you describe June and Serena’s relationship this season? It was tremendous fascinating to see their dynamic develop: it’s revenge however not, forgiveness however not, friendship however not.
I received’t go on and on, however simply to go over the arc of the season, I feel [June] begins out feeling nervous about what Serena’s response goes to be to what she did to Fred. And she or he’s making an attempt to determine who the villain is now. After which on the finish of episode two, she thinks she figures out, “Okay, Serena is the villain.” After which she spends the subsequent few episodes with Serena because the villain.
After which I feel after episode seven, when she’s put on this place the place she’s holding that child and she or he might do precisely what Serena did and precisely what so many women and men in Gilead have finished and take her baby, she realizes, “Oh my God, they’re making an attempt to make me certainly one of them. And I’m not going to be certainly one of you.”
It’s an actual breakthrough second for her as an individual. And I feel it’s that second when she rises above it and is like, “I’m not going to be you. I’m going to show the opposite cheek.” She lets go of the hate, and she or he lets go of loads of her anger in direction of Serena. As a result of the reality is, the issue is a lot larger than one particular person. It’s a lot larger than simply Fred. It’s a lot larger than Serena. This can be a complete nation that she has to combat. Serena’s not the issue. And I feel June realizes that.
Positively. It’s combating an entire system quite than only one different particular person.
Yeah. Precisely. The combat is far larger than one particular person.
The Handmaid’s Story has all the time resonated with viewers, particularly girls on this time. There are clearly some ways in which this season speaks to present occasions, just like the extremism in Canada in direction of refugees, which, sadly I did see some parallels with headlines and sentiments within the U.S. proper now. And likewise the present, which is about girls’s bodily autonomy at its core, is coming at a time after Roe vs. Wade was overturned. What did it really feel like filming the scenes with the refugees in Canada, and likewise filming the season figuring out that this was going to return out in a post-Roe world?
Sadly, I used loads of pictures and analysis from, on the time, what was occurring in Ukraine, with folks fleeing. And loads of my analysis visuals had been from, sadly, the week earlier than, with these refugees fleeing on these trains and the crowds and youngsters and other people being separated and all of that. In order that was one thing that was an unlucky relevancy that I did faucet into.
I feel it’s a double-edged sword. As a result of on one hand, you might be completely satisfied that you may shed some gentle on one thing or convey some consciousness to one thing. Then again, after all, I want that none of it was occurring and it was simply pure fantasy and simply loopy issues that we had been exhibiting in our loopy TV present. So the relevancy is an actual double-edged sword for us, personally, as people.
However our present, from the unique e book and all 5 seasons, is mainly in regards to the combat for human rights. It’s mainly about freedom. It’s about human rights for everyone, and bodily autonomy falls into that. And the fundamental premise of our present is one the place these rights have been taken away.
And so, sadly, we reside in a society the place our human rights are being threatened day-after-day, and in loads of international locations, in America as nicely, are gone utterly. And so the relevancy of it’s…a double-edged sword. I’m completely satisfied as an artist to have the ability to do one thing that hopefully brings some consciousness to a scenario. On the identical time, it might be enjoyable if it was simply fantasy.
Moss behind the scenes directing.
Had been you on set or when the Roe information got here out on the finish of June?
In my capability on the present, I work on the present all yr, so it’s tough to say when it begins or when it ends. We’re beginning to very, very, very preliminary soft-prep season six. Our official prep [for season 5] began in November of final yr. We began taking pictures, I feel, in February. Is that proper? January? I don’t even know. So yeah, I used to be taking pictures the finale when that occurred.
What was the power on set like on the time, when you can bear in mind?
Actually, there’s a distinction between the job we’ve to do and the way we really feel as people and the way we really feel as girls. So we’ve every kind of private conversations about how we really feel as folks and as Americans. And clearly, all of us imagine in a girls’s proper to decide on and in anyone’s proper to decide on, the trans proper to decide on. We imagine in one thing that isn’t very current in our present. And on the identical time, there’s a job to do, and also you do your job.
What can we anticipate from season six? Are there any hopes that you’ve for the subsequent and final season?
I feel that it’s going to be a season the place June goes to determine who she is and who she’s going to be for the remainder of her life.
Like we had been speaking about, the combat isn’t just about one particular person; it’s a lot bigger than that. And I feel she is, in season 5, attending to that place the place she’s realizing that. After which season six goes to be very a lot about that, after which about all of the characters determining whose aspect they’re on and what their subsequent transfer is.
I feel the one factor that we all the time say is that we do shoot the present by the particular lenses of those characters. I don’t suppose we really feel an obligation to tie up the complete story of Gilead, particularly not as a result of we’ve received the sequel arising in The Testaments. So we do have the chance to proceed the story. However so far as June, I feel she’s on her solution to turning into the heroine that she might be.
We’re very excited to see that. I can’t imagine it is nearly over.
I do know, and it feels prefer it’s going to be so lengthy till you guys get to see anything. And I apologize personally for that, however each season we do will get larger, and it takes longer to make each time. And since it’s the ultimate season, we actually need to make it possible for it’s precisely what we need to do.
This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.
Erica Gonzales is the Senior Tradition Editor at ELLE.com, the place she oversees protection on TV, films, music, books, and extra. She was beforehand an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There’s a 75 % probability she’s listening to Lorde proper now.